FY16 Annual Report
Message to Our Supporters
It has been 90 years since the community was first invited to explore Maymont, the inspirational world created by the Dooleys. We marked this important milestone in Fiscal Year 2016 with a festive celebration, a special mansion exhibit, the publication of a new book about the estate, and many community events. It was a year of fond reflection and a time of exciting growth and progress to benefit our guests, too.
When Maymont opened nine decades ago, the public flocked to the 100-acre attraction, and now more than half a million people like you visit each year to explore and connect – with family and friends, with nature and beauty, and with local history and native wildlife. In FY2016, we worked to enrich those connections. We partnered with local schools and universities to develop new environmental education initiatives. We prioritized our links to the past with major achievements at the historic mansion including the successful establishment of a mansion endowment funded in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant. We also began renovations to improve opportunities for guests to connect with each other, Maymont educators and the animals at the Farm.
For FY2017 and beyond, we look forward to building even more bonds with the completion of several Spirit of Generosity campaign projects. Doors soon will open on shiny new classrooms at the Farm. Attractive photo-illustrated signage will inspire connections between Maymont’s past and the engaging experiences for you today and in the future. We will continue to blend the estate’s historic charm with a stimulating array of new things to see and do. And as always, we will open the gates of this special place for everyone in the community to make memories, start traditions, celebrate milestones and enjoy all the wonders of the Dooleys’ extraordinary gift.
Thank you for your support!
FY16 Board President
Enhancing Environmental Education
The environmental education team made plans in FY16 for new in-depth programs based on Project-Based Learning (PBL) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives, focusing especially on Maymont’s underserved middle and high school audiences. A professional development workshop, with a concentration on Project-Based Learning opportunities at Maymont, was designed for 3rd – 12th grade teachers. By attending the conference, teachers would receive PBL plans incorporating STEM concepts, Maymont staff consultation, field trip coordination and student projects, all with the intent that teachers would return with their classes in FY17. In addition, Maymont was selected as a partner institution for Randolph-Macon College’s proposed initiative to help prepare female Hispanic students for leadership in the STEM workforce. With approval of the college’s grant request, Maymont would provide family memberships and special STEM-based programming for the selected project participants.
Celebrating Our 90th Anniversary
On March 16, 1926, the entire community was invited for the first time to explore the Dooleys’ magnificent showplace at Maymont. The response was enthusiastic from the beginning, and more than 500,000 guests now visit each year. The 90th anniversary of the public opening was commemorated this year with a special exhibit at Maymont Mansion and a festive event on April 17. The spring celebration featured horse-drawn carriages, antique cars, performances by Zuzu’s Hot Five and Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, and a fashion show with 25 costumed interpreters representing the Dooleys’ decades at Maymont.
Growing Gardens & Trees
With funding from The Community Foundation, more than 1,400 native Virginia dry woodland plants and ferns were planted in October 2015 along the woodland walk from the Historic Estate entrance to the Japanese Garden in the southeast corner of Maymont. The project was completed by corporate volunteers from Altria, Master Gardeners and horticulture volunteers. An enhanced, full-color Arboretum guide was designed and printed with funding from The Davey Tree Expert Co. The brochure highlights thirty of Maymont’s most significant trees, including its National Champion and eight State Champions, and it serves as an educational outreach tool for the horticulture department. It is available for free in the Robins Nature Center and the Mansion.
Appreciating Our Volunteers
Maymont is incredibly fortunate to have so many generous people willing to give their time, talent and expertise to support the estate each year. In FY16 alone, 1,570 volunteers – including 44 community and corporate groups – gave 20,017 hours to host tours, paint fences, plant gardens, educate the public, support special events and much more. Here are the award-winning volunteers for the year:
Outstanding Dedication, Presidential Lifetime Achievement (6,534 hours) & Volunteer of the Year (for the fifth year in a row!):
New! Corporate Citizenship Award:
Marion Horsley, Mansion
Ford Reid, Gardens & Grounds
Carolyn Sheehy, Nature Center
Jeremiah Hoy, Children’s Farm
Patrice Cossu, Carriages
Rookie of the Year Awards:
O.T Crowther, Mansion
Lisa Welch, Horticulture
Nora Reavey-Gilbert, Nature Center
Samantha Presley, Children’s Farm
Patrice Cossu, Carriages
Spirit of Generosity Accomplishments
The Spirit of Generosity (SOG) Capital Campaign supports an array of infrastructure and sustainability needs to enhance the guest experience and conserve Maymont for the future. Significant achievements were made during FY16.
Maymont Mansion Window Installation
The Maymont Mansion Window Project, funded through an Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant of $145,000 and matching funds donated by the Reynolds Foundation, was completed in the spring. Exterior-mounted laminated panes were fabricated and installed to reduce damaging UV and visible light transmission, to protect the original window frames and sashes and to reduce air and moisture infiltration and energy consumption. In addition, new tinted interior-mounted acrylic panels were fabricated and installed to further reduce visible light transmission.
Children’s Farm Improvements
The Children’s Farm closed to guests in April so that work could begin on renovating the barn, replacing the restrooms, adding new classrooms, expanding parking, and installing the rain garden and bio-retention area. A temporary shelter and new pasture fencing were constructed and installed to accommodate the goats, sheep and donkey during the project.
The National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant
In the final days of the fifth year of this NEH Challenge Grant, Maymont met the required 3:1 match with the help of many loyal friends. Combined with NEH funding, this successfully completed component of the SOG Campaign establishes an endowment that will help to sustain the mansion and its collection and allow it to flourish for generations to come as an engaging, carefully preserved historic house museum of the highest quality.
National Fisheries and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Grant
Maymont was awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Fisheries and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for a Storm Water Management and Water Trail Project to be completed at the Children’s Farm. The announcement was made in October during a press conference at Maymont. At that time, NFWF announced the recipients of $3.2 million in total grants for restoration, conservation and environmental outreach in Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, and Richmond Mayor, Dwight Jones, spoke during the event with their support of the projects.
Maymont: An American Estate
A lavishly illustrated, eighty-page book, “Maymont: An American Estate,” was produced, thanks to an exceptionally generous donation from Nell and Hunter Thompson. It is the first publication that provides a full, well-documented narrative covering the history of Maymont and the Dooleys, the cultivated Richmond couple who created the estate. Published by Scala Art Publishers, Inc., the book was released in December.